Special Publications

The March to Victory: Washington, Rochambeau, and the Yorktown Campaign of 1781


Dr. Robert Selig

Special Publications
CMH Pub 70-104-1, Paper
2007; 48 pages, illustrations, table, maps

GPO S/N: 008-029-00450-0

This pamphlet provides an in-depth account of the most decisive operation of the American Revolution, examining how the Americans and French moved land and naval forces from Rhode Island to Virginia, where they gained the tactical advantage over their opponents at Yorktown. Although the allied forces quickly surrounded the British army on their arrival at Yorktown, the ensuing siege would not have been as successful if the march from Rhode Island to Virginia had not gone as planned. The movement to Yorktown was complex because it had a combined (French and American) as well as joint (land and naval) aspect. French and American military commanders had to overcome formidable barriers of culture, language, tactical doctrine (American and French forces operated under different sets of war-fighting rules), and national political agendas. No one forgot that a mere fifteen years before Yorktown, the American colonists had seen the French and their American Indian allies as implacable enemies.

This work conveys not only how allied commanders overcame these formidable obstacles, but also shows how the march itself solidified American communities along the route and paved the way for a decisive victory at Yorktown and, ultimately, the creation of an independent American republic.

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